Notable Alumnus

Robert Klark Graham, BS
Class of 1937

Dr. Graham had an eclectic career in optics and the sciences before making his fame from lightweight, hard plastic eyeglass lenses. His life was filled with professional accomplishments and awards, starting with a degree from Michigan State University, followed by a Bachelor of Science degree in Optometry from Ohio State in 1937. Dr. Graham began his professional career working for Bausch and Lomb Optical Company and then worked for Univis Lens Co. in Dayton, Ohio where he began research on plastic ophthalmic lenses. In 1946, the research program was discontinued and, along with three other Univis technicians, Dr. Graham moved to Pasadena, California and established Armolite Lens Co., which is still one of the nation’s leading producers of ophthalmic lenses.

At the same time, Dr. Graham was developing a practice solely for contact lenses. While in California, he served as an associate professor in charge of the contact lenses and low vision courses and clinics at the Southern California College of Optometry.

Due to Dr. Graham’s early efforts and research in contact lenses, more than 80% of the lenses dispensed in the United States today are made from lightweight plastic. He is also credited with the introduction of a reflection-reducing coating for ophthalmic lenses, the development o f colorless ultraviolet-absorbing lenses, and the invention of the variable focus lens as well as the invention of the hybrid corneal lens.

Dr. Robert Graham was married to Dr. Marta Everton Graham. They had nine children. He passed away in 1997.

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